HAPPY BIRTHDAY by: hoonified

happy birthday.jpg

CHAPTER 1:

FEBRUARY 2020

Jiwon blankly stares at his phone after reading the popped up notification.
——————————————
FEW MINUTES AGO
SECHSKIES CHATROOM

Jaeduck: Did you see the news?
(Jaeduck sends the news link “Fans wish Kang Sunghoon Happy Birthday”)
Suwon: I saw it. Such a loyal fans he has. They must miss him a lot. I saw a trending hashtag on twitter and pictures on insta as well.
Jaeduck: I miss him too. Why did this happen to us? We were doing alright.
Jaejin: We ARE alright. We just successfully finished our concert tour. Our fans still support us despite what was happened. There is nothing we can change about that. Let’s just move on!
Suwon: Jaejin hyuungg… don’t scold my dear Jaeduck hyung. He just misses his friend.
Jaejin: He is being irrational Suwon-ah. His friend is gone. Just forget him.
Jaeduck: JAEJIN-AH!! How can you say something like that?

Jaejin hates talking about him because it hurts him a lot. He feels sad just by thinking about him. Jiwon knows it because he also feels the same. But he is able to control his feeling now. There were times when he gets angry at anyone who talks about him or even just mentions his name.

Jiwon is about to type something on their chat room when a notification popped up on his phone.

[1_kyne_g1]: kang.s.h.0222 just shared a post.
—————————————–
This can’t be true.
But he is …??

Usually he feels excited whenever he saw that notification. Their Instagram used to be their lovestagram. Their fun way to talk to each other when they’re away from each other. But now…. He doesn’t know what to feel. He should be happy but this is strange. This is impossible. It’s been a long time since the last time he saw THAT notification. He thought the account was already closed. Apparently it’s not since it posted something just now.
He is hesitant to open the notification. He reads the notification again, afraid he misread the name. But then another notification popped up.

[1_kyne_g1]: kang.s.h.0222 just shared a post.

Again…???
What is it about??
Should I open it?

Jiwon is talking to himself. He wants to open it but afraid that this is just a dream and he will end up disappointed. However, he can’t hold his curiosity any longer and opened the post.

The first post is a picture of a handwritten letter from Yoonji, Sunghoon’s little sister.

Noraengi deul, Yelkie deul, Anyeong!

This is Yoonji, I know you miss Sunghoon Oppa as much as I do. And some of you still have question about why Oppa did what he did. That’s why I’ll post some stories about Oppa here to answer your question and to let you guys know how much he loves you. I’m using this account instead of mine because I want to deliver the stories directly to you.

To Oppa’s sweet girls.

Love,
Kang Yoonji

The second post is a picture of Yoonji and Sunghoon in a room that looks like a dancing room.

Yoonji is resting her head on Sunghoon shoulder. Sleeping. While Sunghoon shoulder hugs her and land a kiss on the top of her head with his brotherly smile.

The caption says,

kang.s.h.0222 Some of you maybe remember this picture. It was shared by a lot of fans and said we are their sibling goal and such. The picture is beautiful, isn’t it? But let me tell you the story behind it.
.
It was the very first day I knew about Oppa’s condition. Sunghoon Oppa and Pakbaeng Oppa visited me at my practice room and told me everything. I couldn’t think of anything. I was mad. I was sad. I was so heartbroken. I couldn’t stop crying. He repeatedly said he’ll be fine, he told me stories and jokes, he even sang to comfort me. Then he stopped after three hours of trying because he knew it was useless. He ended up sitting beside me and hugged me all night until I couldn’t cry anymore and fell asleep. Just like what you see in the picture.
.
Pakbaeng Oppa sent me this picture the next morning. He said “Look how much he cares for you. He is the one having a hard time but still manage to put a smile on his face to ease your worry. So let’s be strong. Just like him.” Hope I did enough to give him strength. #kangsunghoon #myguardianangel #siblinglove

#Repost @pbh4180 with @repostapp

My favorite sibling. Glad to know them. #kangsibling #kangsunghoon #kangyoonji

Jiwon is angry when he reads the caption. So he knew it all the time but pretend not to know anything. That stupid manager!!! Jiwon remind himself to give Sunghoon’s manager a smack on his head when they see each other. After his calls were being ignored by Sunghoon’s family, Jiwon called Sunghoon’s manager many times, trying to get some information about his boss.
Where is he? How is he doing? What is his plan?
But he always got the same answer
‘I don’t know hyung. I am not working for him anymore. Why don’t you ask him yourself?’
There’s no way Jiwon would contact him first after that day. He was too angry and disappointed with his used-to-be-favorite-dongsaeng. But still, the care he has for him will never be completely gone. He’s dying to know what’s going on with him. The way he acted and the choices he made were look like made by someone else.
The fact that Sunghoon told his manager but not him about what was happen slightly hurt Jiwon. He can understand if Sunghoon choose to tell his family over him. But his manager? Why? He feels like Sunghoon didn’t trust him enough to tell him about this matter.
————————————
MARCH 2019

Jiwon just finished his shower when he sees a familiar guy sitting in his living room.

“You startled me!! How can you get in? I changed the password.”

‘I know you so damn well hyung. And I guess you still remember our first day of living together, huh? 150794?’
Jiwon blushed but quickly turn his gaze to avoid Sunghoon’s eyes,

“What do you want?”

‘We need to talk hyung’

“There is nothing to talk about anymore Hoon-ah. You’ve made your choice”

‘I know you’re upset hyung. I am here to ask you to trust me. I did this for us. For Sechskies and for our fans. Please hyung don’t hate me.’ Sunghoon desperately pleads while trying to make an eye contact with Jiwon.

“How can it be good for us? It’s like you’re telling us to disband. For the second time!! You are our main vocal and more importantly you are our member. How do you expect us to continue?”

‘Trust me hyung, this is the best choice I have. And no, I don’t want Sechskies to break up. Hyung, you have a really nice tone voice. Jaejin hyung can hit a really high notes as well. Suwon has improved a lot. So does Jaeduck hyung. You will absolutely be fine,’ Sunghoon tries to convince Jiwon to accept his decision.

“Whatever the ‘good’ intention you have, you definitely not thinking about your fans. You know this will hurt them, don’t you? As far as I know, you are someone who treasures his fans the most. Do you really want to do this to your fans?”
Sunghoon looks down. What Jiwon just said is the hardest part of his decision. But he has to do it. He has no choice.

‘They’ll be fine hyung. They’ll get over it’

“I can’t believe you just say that words Hoon-ah. It is your fans we’re talking about. But fine, you say I should trust you? Now tell me your reason. Make me understand. Why did you made such a decision? A selfish one” for the first time since their conversation, Jiwon looks at Sunghoon’s eyes. Really hope to hear the truth.

‘I’m sorry hyung. I can’t tell you the reason. At least not now,’ tears start forming in Sunghoon’s eyes, knowing he already lose his hyung’s trust by saying that.

“That’s it. We’re done talking. You can go home Kang Sunghoon” Jiwon walks towards the door and open it.

Sunghoon drops his head, trying hard to hold his tears. After a few minutes of silent he finally stands up and starts walking. He stops right before Jiwon, stares at him intensely. He really wants to hug him good bye but Jiwon turn his face away. Sunghoon gives up. He is walking out the door when Jiwon is calling for him.
“Kang Sunghoon”
Sunghoon turns around. Hoping for some miracle to happen.
“You disappointed me,” still looking away, Jiwon said it with a trembling voice. He can’t hold his angry tears anymore.
‘I am sorry Hyung. I really am’

===================

FEBRUARY 2020

“Why didn’t you tell me the truth Sunghoon-ah?”

Until now, Jiwon still can’t understand why Sunghoon should hide the truth from everyone. He could’ve just told them and they’ll understand for sure. But he’s not. He was hiding it and made everyone turning their back on him.

What make it worst was, he’s one of them. He was too angry to trust him.

“I’m sorry I didn’t trust you. I’m an awful person”

 

DING!!

Another notification’s popped up

[1_kyne_g1]: kang.s.h.0222 just shared a post.

Without thinking twice, Jiwon opens the notification. This time, Yoonji posts in a multiple photos mode.

The first one is a screen capture of last year news.

‘KANG SUNGHOON REFUSES TO RENEW HIS CONTRACT, WILL SECHSKIES COMEBACK WITH FOUR MEMBERS FORMATION?’

21 March 2019

[YG’s insider] Sechskies comeback is not confirmed yet. For now Sechskies and YG are still on a discussion about their contract renewal. It is true that Kang Sunghoon refuses to renew his contract due to personal issue. But we are still trying to find the best solution for everyone. Let’s hope Sechskies will comeback soon, with full formation.

As the visual of the group, Kang Sunghoon has been featuring in a lot of CF’s and commercial photoshoots inside and outside the country. He’s also been spotted going back and forth between Seoul and Hawaii during past year. It is rumored that he’s leaving Sechskies to pursue his solo career overseas as a singer and a professional model.

Sechskies signed a 3 years contract with YG on 2016 which will expires on May this year. They received a lot of love after the reunion and had release 3 successful albums since. With a steady growth in popularity, YG is planning to renew their contract and starts to prepare a new album. However, with one member refuses the renewal, their comeback is still in question.

The second picture is a picture of Sunghoon sitting in a church wearing all white clothes. He is praying with his eyes closed. Very much looks like an angel.

She wrote,

kang.s.h.0222 Reading those rumors and hateful comments, I can’t help but asked Oppa, why didn’t he tell them the truth? He answered, ‘

Yoonji-ah, have you ever like someone? Worrying about someone you like is the worst feeling in this world. It haunts you every second in every day. And I don’t want my fans to feel that way. It would be easier for them to let go if they hate me. The anger won’t last long. They’ll soon forget and move on and find someone else to cheer on.’

.

‘And about the members? Can’t you see how happy and passionate my members are on the stage? They love performing and the most important is they love being with their fans. And I don’t want to be the reason that stop them from doing it. If they know, they’ll feel bad for me and will refuse to extend the contract as well. There will be no more Sechskies. Both, fans and members will be hurt.’

.

Can’t you see how much Sunghoon Oppa loves you? Oppa’s treasures his members and his fans a lot. He prays for you in every chance he got. So dear Yellkienim-deul, please support Sechskies forever and walk on the flowery road together. Promise?? Because that’s what Oppa always prayed for. @1_kyne_g1 @jae_duck_kim @suwonjang #kangsunghoon #sechskies #yellkie

“Thank you Sunghoon-ah”

Jiwon remembers how angry he was to Sunghoon. He almost made the most stupid decision in his entire life.

Disbanding Sechskies for the second time. And now, he just realized, it was his anger that hold him back. His anger toward people skepticism and someone who caused it.

After the news spread out, people started doubting their group. They said Sechskies is finished without its main vocal and the members should start prepare to do more solo activities since there will be no more Sechskies soon.

Even their agency, YG, started to rethink about their contract renewal.

The members were so affected by the situation. It discouraged them a lot. As a leader, Jiwon felt responsible for his members. He’ll do anything to protect his members and Sechskies. He wanted to show those skeptical people that all members are equal. No one is less important than the others.

——————————————–

MARCH 2019

‘So guys, have you talked about it?’ Director Yang enters the meeting room with a bright smile on his face. Today will be a new start for him and his favorite group and he can’t wait to tell them everything on his mind. New songs, new MV’s, concert concept, collaboration. Everything.

Last week the group was told that the Director wants to renew their contract and starts preparing for the 7th album. He gave them one week to discuss but Jiwon knew they don’t need that. They already have the answer. So he just told his members to come and talk to him if they have any concern regardless the terms and conditions.

And as he was expected, no one approached him.

‘This contract is practically the same as the previous one. But if you have any concern or additional condition, we can talk about it. But make it quick because I can’t wait to tell you my spectacular ideas about your comeback. So anything about the contract?’

“Can we have 7 or 10 years contract now?” Jaeduck screams as he receives a hard kick under the table from his leader.

“Yah! Do you think they are crazy? I won’t even give you a one month contract if I were them” Jiwon embarrasses by Jaeduck’s shameless question.

‘Of course I can give you a 10 years contract but I’m sure Suwon will objects it. He can’t marry his girlfriend for another 10 years.’ Director Yang replies Jaeduck’s ridiculous request with a ridiculous answer.

“It’s ok. She’s still young. She can wait for another 10 years” Suwon answers carelessly

‘But you are not. You’re not young anymore. So, I’ll just give you three more years then get yourself a wife and a family. We all know that Jiwon and Sunghoon can’t wait to live happily ever after in Hawaii?’

“Yeah right, and you guys can come and visit us anytime,” Jiwon smiles and happily puts his arm around Sunghoon’s shoulder. He does want to get a wife and start a new family with her. But the thought of living together with Sunghoon in Hawaii is not a bad idea either. Actually he kind of like it. He can imagine doing a lot of fun things with his favorite dongsaeng. They will be happy, just like the old times. He always happy when Sunghoon’s around.

Jiwon looks at Sunghoon, hoping for a happy and shy reaction from him but rather he looks so tense.

“Sunghoon-ah, what’s wrong?”Jiwon whispers to Sunghoon’s ear and he give him a little head shake and a weak smile. Jiwon knows something is wrong with Sunghoon but he decides not to ask him now. They need to proceed the meeting.

“Well hyung, I think beside Jaeduck’s stupid question we have no more issue about the contract. We already agree even before you ask us,” Jiwon look at his members one by one, asking for their support. They all nod without hesitation. Only one person is avoiding his eye contact. Jiwon begins to worry. Sunghoon is always a warm and full of smile kind of guy but today he seems so distant.

‘Good. If all of you are agree, let’s move on to contract signing so we can start discuss about your comeback album,’ Yang Hyung Suk gives Jiwon the contract in a folder and a pen to sign it.

Jiwon tries to ignore his concern about Sunghoon for now and will just ask him after the meeting. He grabs the pen and about to sign the contract when he hears Sunghoon says ‘I’m not signing it.’

Jiwon stops and like other people in the room, he is confused. Not able to say anything, they are just exchanging gaze with each other and quietly waiting for Sunghoon to clear his sentence but the later doesn’t say anything more.

“What did you say Hoon-ah?” Jiwon hopes he misheard what Sunghoon was saying.

‘I’m not signing it Hyung. I don’t wanna do it anymore.’ Sunghoon repeats his saying and gazing mildly down the table, avoiding all eyes.

“It’s not funny Sunghoon-ah. You should try harder if you want to be casted on variety shows like me,” Jaejin tries to break the tension but there’s no answer. Sunghoon keeps quiet.

‘Is there something wrong with the contract Sunghoon?’ Yang Hyun Suk calmly asks.

‘Nothing hyung. I just want to quit. I’m sorry,’ Sunghoon looks up to meet his Director’s eyes to respect him, then immediately turns his eyes back to the center of the table.

‘I guess you need more time to discuss. I’ll be back to you in a couple days,’ Yang Hyun Suk gives an encouragement squeeze on Jiwon’s shoulder as he leaves the room.

“Sunghoon-ah, let’s talk outside,” Sunghoon follows Jiwon outside and gives a “sorry” look to the rest of members.

“Please tell me you’re not being serious,” Jiwon grabs Sunghoon’s both hands and lightly strokes them. Anxiously waiting for his answer.

‘I’m really sorry hyung. I can’t sign the contract. Please don’t be mad,’ Sunghoon squeezes Jiwon’s hands but can’t look him in the eyes.

“What’s the reason? There must be one,”

‘There is. But I can’t tell you. I just need you to respect and support my decision’

“The rumors must be true? You got a solo contract with other agency, right? But you know you can do both. Just like me and other members, we’re still doing our solo activities under our previous agency. You don’t have to quit and abandoning us like this.” Jiwon’s concern voice starts to turn into a cold voice. He feels a little bit betrayed.

‘You can believe whatever you want hyung. But my decision is final. I’m leaving the group. I hope you can support and trust my decision. I never want to hurt anyone,’ Sunghoon let go of Jiwon’s hand then he turns around and walk away. Leaving Jiwon who’s still trying to hold his anger.

***

It’s been 2 weeks since the tensed meeting. Sunghoon’s departure is final and the news spread out really fast.

People starts comparing him with the other members. They say Sechskies is done since their most talented member is leaving. And then, about a week ago Jiwon was called by the YG’s staff. She said they need to reconsider the contract renewal and asked them to wait for a few more days. Jiwon told his members about the news and it depressed them. They feel discourage and abandoned by everyone. They even think to quit. So does Jiwon.

At first Jiwon tried to bear all the negativity and just waited for YG’s decision. Whatever it is. He was ready to disband the group for the second time. But after Sunghoon’s sudden visit few days ago, Jiwon was too angry and couldn’t hold it anymore. He had to do something for his members. After days of consideration, he finally calls the YG’s staff and asks for a meeting with Director Yang. Then he texts his members.

“Kids, I know the whole situation is a mess now. Be patient and stay strong. There are people who still care about Sechskies. That’s why we can’t quit. We just need to work harder to repay their love. Please trust me this time. Hyung will take care of it”

Jiwon arrives at YG and goes directly to Director’s office.

‘Jiwon-ah, I’m really sorry for the situation. We can’t do anything about the news, they are uncontrollable,’ Director Yang pleases Jiwon to sit on the chair across the table.

“Hyung, let’s make a deal. You are going to extend our contract and we will work hard to meet your expectations and make you money. I’m sure we’re going to make it. We still have 4 talented members and it more than enough to cover his absence. If we fail, we’ll withdraw the contract and I will pay you the fine and all your losses.” Director Yang startled by Jiwon’s sudden burst but calmly reply.

‘You know I love you and your members, right? I care about you a lot. It’s not all about the money. We are afraid, with all the negativity, if we force your comeback, it will only harm the members themselves. You gain a lot of popularity during this past three years. I am sure you guys will have no problem in doing solo activities.’

“For us, it’s not about losing a job or a contract, hyung. We love performing as Sechskies and we still have a lot of fans who love us over a decade. Please help us to repay their love.” Director Yang looks Jiwon in the eyes and fell for his sincerity and determination.

‘Fine. Let’s do it. But promise me, you must work hard and don’t let anything bring you down. Show me your very best.’

“I promise. I will show to those people who look down to us that our success is not only depends on one particular member but all members as a group”

———————————-

PART 3 – FINAL

‘Fine. Let’s do it. But promise me, you will work hard and you won’t let anything bring you down. Show me your very best.’

“I promise. I will show those people who look down on us that our success does not depend on one particular member but on all members. As a group”

————————————

FEBRUARY 2020

Jiwon is on his bed his mind travelling back to months before. They were standing nervously on a Music Show stage to promote their 7th album. They were afraid to see the fans reaction. Will they love them? Will they like the new song? Are their voices good enough?

However, they realize their fear was groundless as the music started. Their fans will always be there for them. During the performance, all they could see was yellow sea and hear the fans chanting.

Nothing else. It was a successful comeback. They proved to haters Sechskies won’t die with one member’s departure. It didn’t affect Sechskies popularity at all.

But it did affect Jiwon.

A lot.

No more smile to look for on stage that could relax him in an instant and sooth his exhaustion right away. It made their activities twice harder for Jiwon.

Jiwon got his phone and refreshed his IG timeline.

Another post from Yoonji.

kang.s.h.0222 Hawaii!!!

Oppa loves Hawaii.

He said this was where everything began. Sechskies started in Hawaii and he also has a lot of beautiful memories there. That’s why after his contract ended, he moved to Hawaii. Besides, he thought Hawaii has more experts for his problem and people will recognize him less there. The treatments will be in better hands and can be carried on privately.

The treatments were painful. I saw people crying and complaining during the treatments but Oppa never said a word. He always looked vibrant. They said people in his condition will usually lose their hope and spirit but not him. “What gives you this much strength?” they asked.

“A picture of me and my members in stage facing a sea of Yellowkies. A hope to come back to them.”

 Oppa’s love for you made him fought so hard. So please don’t hate him or blame him for leaving you this way. He only wants you to see the best of him. That’s another reason the truth was kept from you. He fought hard to come back to you. He just lost his battle.

This is my last post. Thankyou everyone who always trust him. Please continue to love and pray for him. #sechskies #kangsunghoon #love #for #yellkie

The caption is accompanied by a picture of Sunghoon sitting at the terrace of a wooden beach house in the middle of the night. Staring at the sea of stars above him.

Jiwon used to love that combination. Beach, wooden house and starry night. It’s not that he hates those now, he still loves them. They just bring back a memory he wishes to forget.

———————————-

SEPTEMBER 2019

“One Americano please!” Jiwon says his order to the male barista in his favorite Coffee Shop in town.

‘Its $3.5 sir,’ the barista takes the payment and Jiwon walks to sit at the nearest table. He takes out his phone then opens his IG account. Director Yang and his members just posted the teaser for their upcoming concert tour but he doesn’t feel like promoting. He is exhausted. Both physically and mentally.

They just finished promoting their new album a few days ago and their company gave them 3 weeks off before they start their concert tour. They need to rest well and he needs to take his mind off Sunghoon who’s been occupying his mind the past 6 months.

So, here he is at his favorite place in the world.

His second home.

Hawaii.

Jiwon decided to spend a few days in Hawaii before recording his new variety show next week. But he regretted it as soon as he landed on this island. This place reminds him of Sunghoon a lot. Even this Coffee Shop. He and Sunghoon used to hang out here after school. Everyday. This is the place where Sunghoon started his addiction to …

‘Iced Americano with two pumps of syrup please,’

“Yeah, right, iced Americano with two pumps of syrup,” Jiwon is mumbling to himself when he heard someone ordered Sunghoon’s favorite drink. He froze as he realized something.

That voice…

The voice he had been longing to hear. The voice he used to hear every day. The voice that can make him smile in an instant. The voice that he can never get sick of.

His voice.

Is he hearing things because he misses him badly? He pinches his hand hard just to leave a red mark on it.

It’s not a dream.

Jiwon turns his head towards the counter slowly. Afraid the voice’s owner will vanish by his sudden gaze. His body stiffens and his heart starts pounding uncontrollably when he sees a familiar figure.

Jiwon can’t believe his eyes. He tries to say something but no words escape from his mouth. He can only stare until the other person turns around and finally sees him.

‘Jiwon Hyung??’

“Sunghoon-ah…”

***

They are sitting face to face, staring at each other without saying a word. Both still in shock from the sudden encounter. Jiwon observes the person before him. He is still as beautiful as he remembers but he looks pale and a lot skinnier. He cut his hair short and dyed it to its original color. Maybe to make it easier to take care of. Silver hair is pretty bothersome to maintain after all.

‘Congratulation on your comeback Hyung. You guys did a really good job,’ the younger one breaks the silence after a few minutes.

‘I’m so proud of you,’ Jiwon can see a smile form on Sunghoon’s face as he says the words. A smile of pride and happiness. But Jiwon still can’t find a word to say. He is too confused about how he feels right now. His yearn for this person is struggling against his pain and anger.

‘You’re still mad at me, aren’t you?’ Sunghoon feels the hesitation from Jiwon to respond to him.

‘Come with me Hyung, I’ll show you something then I’ll tell you everything,’

***

“Yah, how dare you go there by yourself if you know the after effect will be this bad? What would happen if you didn’t meet me this morning? Do you think you can drive home in this condition? Do you want to kill yourself?” Sunghoon smiles weakly hearing Jiwon’s nagging. But he is not complaining. He misses him so much that he is willing to hear the nagging all day.

Jiwon is driving Sunghoon home after finishing his regular visit. Sunghoon hates these visits, but they said this is the only possible treatment for his condition. He started with twice a month but as it is not getting better, he comes once a week now. Usually Yoonji or his mom comes with him but they have work to do in Korea and won’t be coming back after two weeks. So he went by himself.

Sunghoon’s adjusting his chair, trying to get comfortable but he knows it’s useless. He won’t feel comfortable for the next few days or at least until tomorrow. So he gives up playing with his chair, he opens the window and closed his eyes. Hoping the fresh air will reduce the dizziness and nausea he got from the treatment’s side effects.

“How are you feeling right now? Feeling better? Do you want me to pull over and get you some water? Or coffee maybe?” nagging Jiwon is turning into caring Jiwon when he sees his beloved dongsaeng not feeling well.

‘No. Let’s just go home Hyung,’ Sunghoon says with his eyes closed.

“Fine, just try to sleep, ok? I’ll wake you up when we arrive,” Jiwon let go of the stirring wheel and starts playing with Sunghoon’s hair. Sunghoon opens his eyes and smile when he hears Jiwon words.

‘Hyung, you don’t even know where my home is. Do you?’

“Ah, you’re right,” slightly embarrassed, Jiwon turns on the car’s GPS.

“Tell me your address,”

‘Do you remember the wooden beach house we rent on our last days here Hyung? We stayed there before we went back to Korea to prepare for our debut. I stay at that house now.’

Jiwon nods and smiles. Of course he remembers. Sunghoon loves the beach. That’s why instead of staying at their house, they rented a small yet beautiful beach house to appreciate their last days in

Hawaii. They played at the beach all day. Swimming, playing ball, eating watermelon and ice cream and of course, watching the sunset.

On their last day, they went back to the beach house almost at midnight after spending hours of star gazing. Lying at the beach, side by side with the dongsaeng he loves the most, and watching millions of stars before their eyes is Jiwon’s favorite part of the day. And apparently, Sunghoon’s too.

‘Hyung, thank you for today. I really had fun. The stars were so beautiful. I wish I could watch them again with you one more time before I die,’ Sunghoon said as they’re lying on bed, trying to fall asleep after a tiring but fun day.

***

They finally arrived after an hour driving. Jiwon wakes Sunghoon up and helps him to his room. He lies him down on the bed and wraps him with a blanket. Then he kisses his forehead before heading out to the kitchen.

‘Where are you going Hyung?’ Sunghoon asks.

“I’ll make you dinner. Just rest, Ok?”

‘You don’t have to. I don’t feel like eating,’

“But you have to eat, Sunghoon-ah,”

‘Trust me Hyung, it will just end up in the toilet. I’ve been through this for months. This water is enough to keep me from dehydration tonight,” Sunghoon tilts his head to bottles of water on the table.

‘Can’t you just stay here? You won’t go back to your hotel right? Please stay with me tonight. I miss you,’ he added.

“Fine,” Jiwon sighs. He grabs a bottle of water, hands it to Sunghoon and orders him to finish it before he sleeps. Then he walks to the other side of the bed and lies down next to Sunghoon.

“I won’t go anywhere. Now rest,”

‘Thank you Hyung,’ Sunghoon grabs Jiwon’s hand and holds it on his chest then snuggles his face against Jiwon’s neck. With his free hand, Jiwon softly strokes Sunghoon’s hair and face, trying to put him to sleep.

This morning, after their sudden encounter at the coffee shop, Sunghoon told him everything about his condition. He can’t believe his ears when he heard the news. It really broke his heart. It broke him more when he saw him in pain during his treatment. No single complain heard. The pain was just reflected all over his face. But then he couldn’t help but feel so proud of his passion and touching words.

‘Don’t worry Hyung, I’ll get through this. I’ll do everything to come back to you. To Sechskies. And to our fans. Just wait for me,’

This person beside him always reminds him why he loves him in the first place. After he made sure

Sunghoon is sleeping, Jiwon takes out his phone from his pocket and makes a call.

‘Hello Hyung! How’s Hawaii?’

“Hawaii is lovely as always. Suwon-ah, I need a favor,”

‘What is it Hyung? If you want me to drink with you, you have to wait for about 14 hours before we start drinking. It’s 5PM right now in Seoul. Maybe I can catch the 10PM flight which means I’ll arrive at noon tomorrow. But we can’t drink yet right? We can only drink at night. I’ll add 8 more hours to that. So we’ll start drinking in 22 hours. How’s that Hyung?’

“You’re drunk already, aren’t you? Stop the nonsense you punk! I need your help Suwon-ah. I need a replacement for my variety show next week. You can help me right?”

‘Why Hyung? You have another schedule? See!! That’s what happen if you are too greedy to play. So childish and not professional. Ah right, I forgot. I talk to Eun Jiwon. The choding Eun Jiwon. What do I expect?’ Suwon knows a variety show is just like a playground for his hyung. He will take everything if it includes trip, food, and mission. He loves that kind of show.

“Yah, why’d you bother asking questions if you always answer it yourself?”

‘So what is it all about?’

“Nothing. I just want to stay here a little longer. But I told the PD, I have an urgent matter overseas and he agreed to accept you as my replacement. Please cover up for me,”

‘You already made a deal without my consent??? What kind of leader are you?? But seriously Hyung, is everything all right?’ Suwon starts to worry about his leader. He knows Jiwon is the one that suffered the most by Sunghoon’s departure. He also know the reason of his trip to Hawaii is to clear his mind from that pain. The fact that he wants to extend his stay means he needs more time for that.

Also means that he is still hurting.

“Yes. Everything’s all right. I’m just so in love with this place. Don’t forget next week. Monday at

10AM. I’ll text you the filming location later. Thank you Suwon-ah. See you. Bye,”

‘……..’

Jiwon decides to follow Sunghoon’s request not to tell the other members until they finish their tour.

They need to focus on their performances, he said. Besides, if he tells them, they will come almost immediately to meet their pretty friend here. Jiwon wants to spend some time alone with Sunghoon.

So, no. Not now.

– Hyung, I just booked your return flight this Saturday. Here is the ticket.

A message come from his manager.

(“Dang! I forgot to tell him.”)

– I’m staying here for the next 3 weeks. Reschedule the flight and my other schedules. No further questions.

– You know you just killed me with those requests right? But fine! I don’t have choices, do I? You should treat me a delicious dinner after this!!

——————————————————

DECEMBER 2019

‘Hyung!!! Your phone has been ringing nonstop,’ Jiwon quickly grabs his phone from his manager’s hand. He just finished the last concert of their tour series in Busan. The calls were probably from

Sunghoon. He always called him on the concert day, asking him every detail of the concert.

What were you wearing?

How was your solo stage?

What did Suwon and Jaeduck Hyung do this time?

Did Jaejin Hyung do some silly things again on stage?

And Jiwon will happily answered all of his questions. They would talk for hours until one of them fall asleep. Usually Sunghoon will snooze first, simply because he’s tired from talking too much. If that happens, Jiwon always takes a few minutes to hear Sunghoon’s breathing before he wishes him goodnight and hangs up the phone. Somehow Jiwon finds Sunghoon’s breathing very relaxing.

For today’s concert, Jiwon informed Sunghoon of the wrong concert time. He must have thought the concert was over since he told him it will start at 3PM when actually it started at 5PM. But Jiwon was surprised when he sees there are 28 missed calls on his phone. All from Kang Yoonji. He suddenly had a panic attack. Yoonji barely calls him. Not 28 times at that. He calls Yoonji immediately and his heart stops beating when he hears her voice. She’s crying.

‘Jiwon Oppa…please come here as soon as possible. He is waiting for you.’

***

‘What should we say when we meet him Hyung?’

‘Yeah, what should I do? What if I am crying in front of him?’

“You can’t! Just say that he look handsome. Or tell him about Jaejin’s upcoming art exhibition. Or that Suwon broke up with his girlfriend because she’s always fighting with fans. Anything but tears.

Remember our purpose here!”

Jiwon and his members just arrived at the beach house. They meet Yoonji and she tells them to go straight to Sunghoon’s room. After Yoonji’s call that night, Jiwon told the members everything. They were so mad at him for hiding the fact from them, especially Jaejin. To everyone’s surprise, Jaejin was the most emotional member when Jiwon delivered the news. He might seems apathetic to everything around him but he surely loves his friends a lot.

‘You are here!!! Wow…you look so damn good with your new hairstyle Jeeduck Hyung! Eiii Hyung, you still wearing that plain sleeveless t-shirt? Wear something more fashionable! Just take some from my drawer. Suwon-ah…you’re finally got some piercing, huh? You were right, it doesn’t suit you. Tell your fans not to give you earrings anymore. Jiwon Hyung, why are you standing there?

Come here and hug me! I miss you a lot!’ Sunghoon cheerfully welcome his members from his bed with a weak voice. He looks fragile yet lively and bright. Something they miss the most.

They start the reunion by hugging their missing member one by one, telling him how they miss his smile and cheesy talks on stage. Then they talked about their new songs, the choreography that can only be done when they’re drunk, variety shows they went to, and the concert with a lot of special events by fans to support the members. Done with Sechskies activity stories, the members then talked about their personal life. That they’re trying to get Charles a wife since he became too clingy with Jaejin. That Jaeduck finally moved out of Tony’s house but it only lasted 17 days. And how they were scolded for letting Suwon get drunk a day before the first concert. Come on! How can they tell him not to drink when he just broke up with his girlfriend?? Brothers have rules!!

They talk and talk like there is no tomorrow. No one wants to leave the room. They stick to their purpose. To make their friend laugh as much as he can. To make him happy. To make him forget about his pain. To make him live his life without regrets. Sunghoon can’t talk much, he can only laugh weakly with their jokes and funny stories. It makes him happy by just having his dear members beside him.

They would have stayed there all night if their leader didn’t tell them to go back to the hotel and let their friend rest.

“Guys, I think Sunghoon needs to rest. Go back to the hotel for now. Come back tomorrow,” Jiwon gives his order to the members

‘You’re not coming Hyung?’

“No. I am staying here,”

No one argues with him. They know how close Jiwon is to Sunghoon. He will never leave Sunghoon’s side at the time like this.

“Do you know how worried I was?” Jiwon sits at Sunghoon’s bed and holds his dongsaeng’s hand tight. Jiwon has been so quiet today, he just let the other members do the talk. He is still in shock of the news. Still can’t accept the reality.

‘I’m sorry Hyung. But I told you, we should be prepared,’

“I know. It’s just too sudden,” Jiwon knows no one can guarantee anything. That he should prepare for the worst. But he can’t. He’s just not ready and will never be.

‘You know hyung? I am ready whenever it comes. I did my best. I have no regret,’ Sunghoon looks

Jiwon in the eyes, trying to assure him that he is ok. But Jiwon chooses to ignore it and change the subject.

“You look tired Sunghoon-ah. Let’s call it a day. If tomorrow you are feeling better, I’ll take you to the beach,”

‘Why tomorrow Hyung? Look!! The stars are so beautiful. Let’s go outside and watch them,’

Sunghoon is pointing the view outside the window.

“No you can’t. You need to rest. Besides, it’s too windy outside,”

‘It’s ok Hyung. I’ll wear a sweater and bring my blanket,’

“No,”

‘Hyung, remember the wish I told you at our last night here? After we spent hours of star gazing?

Can you grant my wish now? We might not have another chance anymore’ Sunghoon says it with a serious expression. A bit more desperate.

Jiwon choked up by Sunghoon words but he tries to stay composed. He promised himself not to cry in front of Sunghoon. He knows what Sunghoon said is true. This might be their last chance to reproduce the moment. After a couple minutes of thinking, he finally says,

“Fine. Here, wear your sweater,” then Jiwon gives Sunghoon a piggyback outside.

On their way to the beach, he notices Sunghoon breath becomes heavier. Like he is in pain.

“Are you ok Sunghoon-ah? Should we go back inside?”

‘I’m fine Hyung,’ Sunghoon’s voice sounds a lot weaker than before.

“I don’t think so. Let’s just watch it tomorrow,”

‘No Hyung, I want to do it now. Please!’ Sunghoon insists and Jiwon can only continue his walk.

They are lying down on the beach, side by side. Sunghoon is watching the stars before him with a smile on his face while Jiwon can only stare at Sunghoon’s face. He doesn’t want to miss every second he has to see his beautiful face.

‘Hyung, my wish is to watch the stars with you not to watch it by myself while you’re staring at my face,’

Jiwon smiles then put his arm under Sunghoon head and pull him closer to his chest. His other hand reaches out for the blanket and wrap themselves with it. They are snuggling, enjoying each other’s presence under a blanket of millions of stars.

‘Hyung, you’ll take care of my family right? I most worry about them. There are only the three of us. I need someone to take care of them. You will help me, won’t you?’ Sunghoon pause for a second to calm himself. Talking about his family always makes him emotional.

‘My mom. She works so hard for our family. Sometimes she’ll forget that she’s not young anymore and needs to take care of herself. But she hates going to the hospital, even just for a check-up. So, twice a year I’d always take her on a trip overseas and say that for someone over 60, the airline needs a reference from the hospital that states her condition is good enough for a long flight. That’s how I get her to the hospital and do a check-up,’

‘Then Yoonji. My beautiful sister. She is a pretty independent girl who can take care of herself well.

But every time her heart is broken, she will be devastated. Don’t let her drink! Just play her favorite movie and let her watch it over and over. You should stay with her the whole time. She’ll get tired and fall asleep. The next morning, give her 2 boxes of dark chocolate, she’ll get better at the half of the second box,’

‘And one more person,’ Sunghoon stops and turns his head to face Jiwon who’s been staring blankly at the sky with moist eyes while Sunghoon was doing his long talk.

‘You. Just promise me something. You’ll take good care of yourself and be happy,’

‘Can you do all of that for me Hyung? Especially the last one’ Jiwon only nods his head to answer

Sunghoon’s question. Afraid he will burst into tears if he starts talking.

‘Thanks Hyung,’

***

A week later, Jiwon and his members come back to Korea, bringing news that left everyone in surprise. A news that break a lot of heart. Including himself.

———————————————————————

FEBRUARY 2020

SECHSKIES CHATROOM

Jiwon: Jaejin-ah, I know how you feel. It was painful. But forgetting him will not ease your mind.

Jiwon: It will only put you in misery.

Jiwon: I do agree with you. We should move on. But we can still keep our memories of him deep inside our heart so we can recall it every time we miss him.

Jiwon: Missing someone we love is not a sin. That’s not something we should be angry or embarrass of. I know you miss him, Jaejin-ah. Express it. No one will judge. We miss him too.

Jiwon: Today is Sunghoon’s birthday. How about we visit him tomorrow and celebrate his birthday together?

Suwon: Our leader has grown up now. I’m in Hyung!

Jaeduck: I am literally crying reading those posts. I miss him more now. So, yeah, let’s visit him tomorrow.

Jaejin: I’m sorry guys. It’s just too hard for me to accept. I miss him so bad that I can’t get him out of my mind. I wish I can forget him and erase the pain. But Jiwon Hyung is right. We should not forget him. He is too precious to be forgotten.

Jiwon: Good then. Let’s meet tomorrow at my place. 11am?

Jaeduck: Ok Hyung. See you

Suwon: Don’t be late Hyung. It’s your place

Jaejin: Yup

Jiwon closes the chatroom and smiles as he sees his phone wallpaper. A sliver haired man is waving at him while smiling brightly.

“Happy Birthday Sunghoon-ah”

“We’ll see you tomorrow”

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